I talk to myself. I talk to myself quite a lot. Yes, I talk back to the radio, and to my computer, the DVD player, the hockey announcers, the fools in advertisements trying to sell me stupid things that I’ll never buy and those brilliant people in advertisements who are telling me about the wonderful things I could buy …
Yes, I talk to the microwave, the toaster oven, the dishwasher and the thermostat. I’ve had some brilliant three-way conversations with the coffee maker and its friend, the coffee grinder. They’ve given me some amazing feedback on my work and may even have come up with one or two of my blog post topics (I think some of them sound like the coffee maker came up with them and the grinder convinced me to run with them … sorry).
But that’s not all …
I talk to myself too. I’m not saying those conversations are any more scintillating than the ones with the coffee twins, just that I need conversation. I need feedback, even if it is only in my head. And in the absence of real live conversation, I need self-dialogue.
I don’t know when I started to talk to myself. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t. I can’t say if the need for interaction drives it but I can tell you I need interaction. You can chalk that up lately to my being lonely. But what about before?
Practice makes perfect – or not
I can’t say with any certainty that it’s practice or learning, though I do tend to fabricate possible conversations with people I’m going to meet or rehash conversations I’ve just had, trying to figure out what I could have done differently.
This is pure anxiety I’m sure. My mind is trying to figure out how to present the best possible image of my personality. History has intimated, seemingly with announcements over loudspeakers, that my personality can be grating and abrasive. I think the rehashing and practice is just my way of polishing my public persona, taking the edge off so that people can get to know the shiny me inside before they’re subjected to the gritty outer wrapping.
I do have family history on my side, my grandfather on my father’s side talked to himself a lot. He was hearing impaired so maybe his was the only conversation he could hear well enough. Not having to struggle to hear the other half of a conversation, I imagine, is a big bonus when trying to engage in either lighthearted banter or serious discourse.
In the discussion zone
I do talk to myself on purpose at times. I use my voice to keep me focused on what I’m doing. Just as the movements of Tai Chi can keep my mind focused on meditation, verbally repeating my task to myself can often deliver me to a location, remind me of the task I’m to do and return me to the place that the task originated from without my being sidetracked or distracted.
Do I need to be alone to talk to myself?
The thought occurred to me the other day that I might get a dog. I would feel less self-conscious about talking to a dog than I do about talking to myself.
That’s fine for me, but what about the dog?
Another point is that, after hearing me talk to myself incessantly, I’m pretty sure the dog would often quit paying attention to me, I know I do … and I’m betting you’re starting to wander off as well … am I right?